Comment 34324

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted October 01, 2009 at 12:27:26

We've seen many times on RTH and elsewhere that the argument about who breaks the traffic laws most frequently is not helpful (especially as it is usually backed up only by anecdotal evidence).

Everyone should be able to agree that cyclists, pedestrians and motorists will flout laws or good practice when it feels safe and convenient, although which laws are flouted most often differs (e.g. motorists tend to exceed the posted speed limit, especially on freeways, and cyclists disobey stop signs).

Instead, we should focus on reducing the violations likely to cause the most harm.

It should be obvious that when a motorist flouts the law (especially by speeding, which drastically increases the risk of death and injury), this is far more likely to cause death or injury than when a cyclists doesn't stop at a stop sign.

The fact is that "From 2000 through 2004, 14,082 people died in a motor vehicle accident in Canada"

In 2003 there were 2,778 deaths and 222,260 injuries due to motor vehicle collisions (including 378 pedestrians and 45 cyclists). About 35% of drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. From

So clearly, we should be concentrating on serious violations like speeding and drunk driving which have been shown to actually cause death and injury.

While we can argue about which road users are most law abiding, we already know that motorists do in fact cause thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries in Canada each year. This is where we should be focusing our efforts in enforcement and improved road design (to encourage lower speeds).

At the same time, we should also encourage cyclists to ride safely and improve infrastructure (e.g. by building cycling lanes) to reduce conflicts between motorists and cyclists. However, ticketing or licensing cyclists would not be a good use of limited resources if the goal is to reduce death and injury on the roads.

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